Jan 11, 2012

Believing the Lie review

Before I jump into my reactions to Elizabeth George's latest mystery (which comes out Friday!)  here's what's coming up:

On Friday and Saturday, stop by for an interview with the awe-tabulous Tawdra Kandle, a debut author who's epublishing her book, Fearless. We'll talk about her journey, her story and she'll be giving away one free full MS critique to a lucky random commentor. You won't want to miss!

On Monday, I'll write a short post on some exciting news. (For me, anyway. :)

Believing the Lie blurb: Twenty-five years after George wrote her first Inspector Lynley novel  (and 16 novels later) she brings another installment in the Lynley saga:
Inspector Thomas Lynley is mystified when he's sent undercover to investigate the death of Ian Cresswell at the request of the man's uncle, the wealthy and influential Bernard Fairclough. The death has been ruled an accidental drowning, and nothing on the surface indicates otherwise. But when Lynley enlists the help of his friends Simon and Deborah St. James, the trio's digging soon reveals that the Fairclough clan is awash in secrets, lies, and motives.
         Deborah's investigation of the prime suspect-Bernard's prodigal son Nicholas, a recovering drug addict-leads her to Nicholas's wife, a woman with whom she feels a kinship, a woman as fiercely protective as she is beautiful. Lynley and Simon delve for information from the rest of the family, including the victim's bitter ex-wife and the man he left her for, and Bernard himself. As the investigation escalates, the Fairclough family's veneer cracks, with deception and self-delusion threatening to destroy everyone from the Fairclough patriarch to Tim, the troubled son Ian left behind.

What I liked loved: One of the reasons I love George's writing is the way she develops her characters. There are no cardboard cut-outs, no cliches or straightforward individuals in her books. Everyone is as layered as an artichoke, with defense mechanisms, hang-ups and hurts carefully concealed. These stories are definitely character driven and the plot only serves as a stick of dynamite to all the cords of deception, selfishness and desires of everyone involved. In this case, the plot is a murder-that-may-not-be. Lynley and his friends' digging uncovers a lot more than a possible conspiracy, and the reasons/reactions to this are when George peels back those layers to reveal all facets of her characters' psyches. While they're rooting around in Cumbria, Lynley's faithful work partner Barbara Havers is tasked with helping Lynley at the same time her neighbor - for whom her crush is buried so deep, I'm not sure Barbara even realizes her feelings for him - is having a family melt-down. The book ends not with Lynley, who has taken yet another step in the grieving process for his late wife, but with Barbara and her reaction to her neighbor's stress. If the clue is correct, George's next novel will take a huge detour into Barbara's virtually nonexistent personal life. (Yay!)

What I didn't like:  In my opinion, some of the sub-plots were weak, especially the one involving Zed Benjamin, the Jewish tabloid reporter sent to dig up dirt on the Fairclough family prior to Lynley's involvement. In one scene, Zed resorts to using a hotel computer to type up his story because he doesn't have his laptop. !!!!! Seriously, this would not happen, especially not for a reporter on assignment. There are also a few issues with character choices, particularly one that seemed contrived to give that story thread the right amount of pathos.

Recommended: Yes! Although if you haven't read George's work before, I suggested starting with any of her earlier work (This Body of Death, for instance) before diving into this one.  If you enjoy cerebral mysteries, you won't be disappointed.


Lisa L. Regan said...

George sounds great. (Hmmm, may have to visit the library with my no new book rule in effect . . .) Can't wait to hear your news and the Kandle interview sounds intriguing too!

Francis said...

This sounds like a book that you can chew on for a while. I heard a review of it on a radio show at http://www.bookreportradio.com. They review a few new books every week and I find it a great way to hear about new books.